Flour Mill to Close, Affecting 44 Jobs

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ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) _ MGP Ingredients Inc. closes its flour mill in Atchison, forcing the layoff or early retirement of 44 people.

Vice president Steve Pickman says the company has milled its own flour since 1987 but has recently operated the plant at only 30 percent capacity. He says the company is negotiating to get its flour from agriculture conglomerate ConAgra.

Pickman says MGP closed the plant Monday. Once the contract with ConAgra is completed, 32 people will be laid off and 12 offered early retirement.

The plant's 148 union workers recently returned to work following a two-week strike.

MGP Ingredients makes specialty wheat proteins and food-grade alcohol. The company also has plants in Onaga and Kansas City, Kan., as well as one in Illinois.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)